Monday, March 31, 2008

Baked Macaroni

Finally, after literally years of waiting my mom has decided that she's ready to endulge the family with her wonderfully cheesy baked macaroni. I'm not quite sure why it is that we haven't had this dish is so long, but I'm glad the wait is over. I remember having this dish as a little girl (well, technically I'm not really a big girl yet... but I still enjoy reminiscing about my childhood) and just the smell of the kitchen and the look on my mom's face when she served us her special meal was always a great time. Well, let me not deprive you faithful blog readers from my mom' s wonderful recipe.

Baked Macaroni
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 4 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- 1 1/2 tbsp ap flour
- 1 3/4 cups warm milk
- 6 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
- a pinch each of nutmeg and cayenne
- 2 cans of tuna, flaked
- 3/4 cup corn kernels
- salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oven to 350F and grease baking dish. Cook macaroni, but remove pasta from water about 2 mins before it's usually done. Drain, rinse under cold water (this prevents further cooking) and set aside.
2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in medium pan, over medium heat. Stir into the panko crumbs in a bowl and set aside.
3. Melt remaining butter in same pan, sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly for 1 min. Remove pan from heat and slowly whisk in the milk (mix until all clumps are dissolved).
4. Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove pan from heat and add 3/4 cup cheddar, 1/4 cup gruyere, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
5. Add pasta, tuna and corn to the sauce and stir together. Spoon pasta into prepared dish and spread out. Sprinkle with panko mixture and bake in oven for 25 mins (until golden brown).

The tuna and corn are my mom's own "secret" ingredients. We find that it gives the classic mac&cheese a real kick and adds a bunch of flavor. Try it! You'll be pleasantly surprised. Just look at the lovely crunchy top and cheesy innards of the casserole... mmm, mmm, good :)

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